If you have parents or partners who are constantly complaining about your video game sessions, we have good news for you: science is on your side. There are many clinical studies that show that playing computer games is actually beneficial to both our physical and mental health. So contrary to popular belief, playing video games doesn’t make you lazy or nerdy. On the contrary, your mind develops in many different directions, and if you choose the right games, you get the chance to socialize as much as you can, just like the in the real world.
So, how does all this happen, and what does clinical research prove? You can find everything you need to know about this topic below: next time your partner asks you not to waste time on free play slots UK games, for example, you can show them these researches.
Do Video Games Make You Prone to Violence?
Let’s begin with perhaps the oldest research on video games. There are many social science researches conducted since 1981 on the relationship between violence and video games. So yes, when the world’s first video game was developed, people began to argue whether it caused violence or not. In 2001, Craig A. Anderson and Brad J. Bushman prepared a meta-study that combined all of these researches and published a report claiming that video games caused violence. This report, which is constantly used by the media as the evidence that video games are harmful, is hardly taken seriously by scientists. Because, instead of doing a real experiment, this is a report that lists the results of previous researches, and even in itself, it is contradictory in many sections. Moreover, there are many new and serious scientific studies that prove the exact opposite of the claims in that report.
Let’s start with 2017: UK-based Nesta Research published a detailed research on computer gaming (and gambling). According to this research:
- Women play as much as men;
- The average player age is higher than predicted and more than 40;
- The average player has high education, and their cultural level is much higher than expected.
The study was conducted on over 10,000 UK citizens and was managed by the University of Denmark. In other words, it has very successful and scientifically verifiable results in terms of summarizing the general situation of UK players. One of these results is that players are not “asocial and violent”, as assumed by the media. On the contrary, the players are middle-aged people with a social life who enjoy cultural activities. In other words, the standard video game player portrait of a “teenager living in the basement” is just a fantasy drawn by the media.
Video Games Are Good for Kids
But that’s not all: A scientific paper by Peter Gray published in” Psychology Today” (2018) shows that video games have a positive, not negative, impact on children’s development. We know what most people think of video games: they believe that they make children asocial, adversely affect their development, and are even harmful to their mental health. Peter Gray (PhD) thinks otherwise: playing video games is beneficial for the development of children in our era.
The reason for this is that being a child is now quite different than it was 50 years ago. Half a century ago, the physical and mental development of children was to “go out and play” and make friends while you are at it. Nowadays, this is not possible in most parts of the world. We have made cities, especially big cities, insecure and useless, and children can no longer go out as they used to. Video games are the best thing to replace this experience. Children of this generation may have lost other forms of gaming, but they can still use video games. And, in this way, they can:
- Develop cognitive abilities;
- Improve their intellectual, social and emotional development by playing video games 5 hours a week;
- Improve their creativity and increase their TTCT (Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking) scores;
- Be more easily motivated and improve their ability to focus;
- Play with other children and socialize.
This list is actually the summary of many scientific researches, and the part about creativity is particularly impressive. In this test, a group of 12-year-old children underwent TTCT tests before and after playing video games. The test results were always higher after playing video games. Moreover, the games selected for this experiment were of the kind that the media and parents would not like: Serious Sam, Minecraft, and Portal 2. In other words, the games that the media claim to cause violence.
How Does Video Games Affect the Brain?
If you’re still not convinced that video games are beneficial, a survey conducted in April 2019 can change your mind. This study was conducted to find out the cause of an interesting phenomenon: children with ADHD have difficulty concentrating and staying calm, as everybody knows. However, the same children can play a video game for hours without moving or getting distracted. Well, what’s the reason?
Maybe you’ll be surprised, but that’s because video games teach everyone to be more responsible. Our brain actually works quite simply on some issues: if it makes us happy to do an action, our brain encourages us to continue doing it. Video games reward players’ efforts by increasing the amount of dopamine in their brains and creating an effort-reward relationship. Children with ADHD learn more about perseverance and personal accountability from video games than they can learn from their parents. And that’s not all: children with ADHD have difficulty establishing social relationships in the real world. However, the situation in video games is very different: even those with severe ADHD have virtually no difficulties in the “virtual” world and can make social relationships like a normal child. Basically, they can make friends much more easily.
Of course, all this scientific data doesn’t mean that your children (or you) must completely abandon the real-world environment. Like everything else, video games can be harmful, especially if they replace the real world. You need to achieve a certain balance and separate the real world from the world of video games. However, it is important to know that your child or partner who plays 2-3 hours a day will not be adversely affected. On the contrary, this activity allows them to develop physically and mentally.
In short, there’s nothing to worry about, let them play. In fact, why don’t you grab a PC or console and join your partner? Playing together may be a truly different experience and the thing you need.
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